FILE - Egyptian Parliament holds general session
CAIRO – 24 April 2018: Parliament approved Article 53 regulating the penalties of harassing tourists within the draft Protection of Antiquities Law, which was finally passed on Monday without any amendments, despite some MPs’ requests to toughen the punishment measures.
Under the new law, “Unless there is a tougher penalty stipulated in any other law, whoever harasses tourists or visitors of archaeological sites or museums, with the intention of begging or promoting, offering or selling a good or service, shall be punished with a fine of not less than LE 3,000 ($169) and not more than LE 10,000.”
MP Ehab al-Tamawy called for toughening the punishment to reach a fine of LE 20,000. Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enani and MP Osama Heikal, head of the Culture and Media Committee in Parliament, supported Tamawy’s suggestion, but other MPs refused to increase the penalty.
Parliament Speaker Ali Abdul Aal said, “There is no such penalty in any other country and the toughening of the punishment will not eradicate the phenomenon. Increasing the awareness about the nuisance of such acts among the society can contribute to ending them.”
The new law comes in line with the tourism authorities’ efforts to prepare for the summer season amid the return of direct Russian flights to Egypt.